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Empathy Theories: Dialogue of Modern Literary Criticism with Philosophy and Psychology

Student: Nadezhda Chugunova

Supervisor: Georg Wilhelm Heinrich Witte

Faculty: School of Arts and Humanities

Educational Programme: Philology (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2021

The object of the study is the concept of empathy. Empathy in this study is considered as a complex phenomenon that requires an interdisciplinary approach to study. This interdisciplinary study examines, analyzes and compares different philosophical and psychological theories about empathy and considers the issues of reader's emotional involvement in the text of a work of fiction. At the center of the study are the issues of interaction between the reader and fiction. The theory and hypotheses of narrative empathy, as well as narrative techniques aimed at awakening empathy in the reader, are discussed in the main part of the paper. The paper also discusses the role of reading in the development of empathy in children and its relationship to the Theory of Mind concept. Strategies for engaging readers emotionally through empathic response are demonstrated through examples of fiction. The aim of the study is to describe, identify, and demonstrate mechanisms of empathic reader involvement in literary text and to formulate hypotheses that can be discussed in the field of empathy studies as an interdisciplinary concept, including in the context of reader-literary text interaction.

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